This last guest post is brought to you by Bumbling Along I hope that you like the post and I shall let them take it from here…

Boys and Girls

When I was pregnant I was convinced I was having a boy.

I think in a way it was because I was scared of having a boy. And I like to face my fears.  I am from a family of 3 girls. I went to a girls’ school. I’m not a girly girl, and many of my friends are lads, but baby girls? More of a comfort zone.

But I had a girl. A gorgeous, bouncing baby girl.

Hubs and i pledged that we would not try to influence her into being a girly girl. That we wouldn’t dress her all in pink. She would have girls’ toys, boys’ toys and unisex toys. She’d play with toy cars and dollies, pushchairs and tractors.

And you know, she does. But yet there is a generous dose of girly stereotype too. And I don’t know how much of that is nature or nurture.

All of the other 8 mums in my NCT group went on to have boys. Most of my friends, who already had children, had boys. Moo is often the sole girl at playdates. Moo finds the boys, en masse, too boisterous. We had a NCT meet up on Monday. One of the mums had brought along her new baby girl. The boys were all playing in the playroom, charging around, crashing cars. Moo was sitting with the adults, pointing out the baby’s toes, ears, eyes, cheeks, and asking if she could give her a cuddle and a kiss.

She is obsessed with babies. And with putting her toys to bed. With cuddles (@peabee72 was called back on a recent meeting because she hadn’t given moo the requisite cuddle). Moo likes to wear dresses and skirts, rather than trousers, and says she is “pretty” (ok, so I know that one must have been taught by me – but I’m sure mums of boys tell them they are handsome or gorgeous).

She does love to play with stones, and gets muddy, but insists on having her hands wiped as soon as they are (definitely not learnt from me!). She’s tidy. Socks must be tucked into shoes when they are taken off, and shoes placed by the front door. I really have no idea where she gets that from. I’m not known for my tidiness…

The difference between the genders is a tough one. The “right on” approach seems to be that you shouldn’t insist girls are girly, that they should have all the same experiences as boys. Somehow, that see-saw never seems to go the other way – there’s not a huge market for pink boys clothes, or, heaven forbid, skirts!! I know little boys who play with dolls and prams, but generally behind closed doors, or if they have sisters.

Boys seem to be struggling in school, with education, but they are still dominant in the workplace. There is still a pay gap, a power gap. Should I be worried about Moo?

I don’t know how much we are affecting Moo’s behaviour. I don’t know how much it is affected by her gender, and how much by her general personality. Moo is very definitely a girl. And a gentle girl at that. I, for one, am going to embrace that, and all its facets, and encourage her to be all that she can be.

Equal, but different.


Boys And Girls

4 thoughts on “Boys And Girls

  • September 27, 2010 at 10:48 am
    Permalink

    Moo is a gorgeously cuddly girl and I was privileged to receive one! As a parent of 3, a boy and 2 girls I’d go along with the argument that there are gender diffs that are much more nature than nurture. Boys will fill a space with noise and movement, girls tend to restrict themselves and use more fine motor skills from an earlier age. Generalisations of course, but we’ve seen them – and we have never tried to reinforce gender stereotypes…. they all love a cuddle though! I think if anything it’s the boys we need to worry about – opportunities for women are improving all the time and we’ll continue to push to make sure this is the case. It seems to be getting tougher for the boys though…. x

    Reply
  • September 27, 2010 at 10:54 am
    Permalink

    Oh she sounds delightful ,and I would say you are gdoing all the right things ,from a Mum of four …two of each ,the eldest is fifty now lol …love Jan xx

    Reply
  • September 27, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Permalink

    I love this post, Moo sounds very much like Little Bean. I have never tried to make overly Girly. She plays with baby dolls, dinosaurs, prams, robots and cars. The only colour she always recognises is pink and when asked what colour she wanted her bedroom she said pink with fairies! She loves nothing more than playing outside in the mud with her big brother and now is mother hen to her baby brother. I think she is a great balance of the sexes!!

    Reply
  • September 27, 2010 at 11:46 pm
    Permalink

    I find this topic really interesting. Although I try not to, I think we can often influence behaviour almost subconsciously. My MiL was a great example the other week, telling me that my niece had started playing with handbags “but nobody’s encouraged her, she just naturally wants them”, when it was plain from her delight at in telling the story that they must have shown approval as soon as she touched the thing!

    I think in some ways I’ve encouraged my son to do ‘girly’ things, as I bought him a toy doll and buggy to help prepare him for the arrival of his brother (and he proudly pushed it round the street!) and we’ve had to teach him how to gently touch a tiny baby! I recognise some of your daughters characteristics in him too. I wrote a bit about my take on it all last week here http://imperfectpages.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/boys-girls-whats-the-difference/.

    It’s interesting that you touch on equal opportunities too. I’m a feminist and feel strongly about woman’s rights, and I think I feel a guilty sense of relief that my boys won’t have to battle against prejudice to succeed in a traditional career, if that’s what they want to do. Also relief that there aren’t so many negative stereotypes and images out there for me to worry about – it’s tough being a girl. Hopefully I can teach them to be respectful and unprejudiced young men.

    Reply

We love comments so please leave some